I am not ready for compromises – Adoor Gopalakrishnan

“O world, do not chase after me, you cannot catch me” is the dialogue in the play about the Buddha played by Adoor as a child. In the history of Malayalam cinema, Adoor’s fame is at a point where no one can run away. Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s life journey turns 80 on July 3. From an interview with Mathrubhumi representative MK Suresh.

It started with drama. Drama, film, life – can you explain one?

= Started acting at the age of eight. Most of the time the stage was at Kaniyareth’s house in North Adoor Thuvayoor. In the open veranda. Spectators and householders. His younger uncle and painter Ramanunnithan also wrote plays. In those plays, too, middle school drawing master Oyur M.V. She also acted in written plays. My role will always be that of the heroine. The female role was growing behind me. He became the protagonist when he performed his own play.

Pandalam N.S.S. Drama was with me when I joined college. During this time I read a lot of books, including plays. The library we founded in Thuvayoor was also a great inspiration. His father Madhavanunnithan was a forest department official. Amma Mouthath Gaurikunnamma. I am the sixth of seven children. Madurai joined Gandhigram with the desire to get a job as soon as possible. There was no drama or reading left. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the play. The library had a large collection of drama books. G. who was a Malayalam teacher. Sir Sankarappilla was in charge of the library.

He wanted to join the National School of Drama but turned it down as it was a Hindi medium. Meanwhile, I saw an advertisement inviting applications for admission to the Pune Film Institute. The high question was whether he should give up his paid job in the National Sample Survey and go on to study cinema. The elder brother (Prof. RC Unnithan) advised him to go if he had faith. I had no qualms, though. He got first rank in the entrance examination. He joined the Screenplay Writing and Directing course but was into playwriting throughout. Dramatic writing becomes easier if you learn screenplay. I received the only scholarship offered by the Institute. It took me a year to get excited about the movie. Until then it was all drama. I slowly realized that cinema was my path. Hrithik Ghatak, Prof. Teachers like Satish Bahadur were leading the way to the new world.

How the Film Society Movement Began

= The time when I could not make a film immediately after studying at the institute. It was decided earlier that he would not be anyone’s assistant. Devadas, Melatoor Ravi Varma and Latheef, Malayalees from the institute, and Kulathur Bhaskaran Nair, who was in Gandhigram and I, started the discussions for the Chitralekha Film Unit. When we came to Kerala, we decided that the first thing to do was to form a film society. In addition to the Film Society, it also aims to publish and make good films that take cinema seriously. Governor Bhagwan Sahai inaugurated the Film Society in July 1965 at the Sreekumar Theater, Thiruvananthapuram. The inaugural film was the Hungarian film ‘Land of the Angels’.

The 5th All India Conference of Writers is being held in Kerala (Aluva) during the growth of Chithralekha. It was decided to present the art forms of Kerala as part of the conference. In the consultation meeting, M.S. Govindan came up with a new idea. An international film festival with the conference. He also asked if Adoor could take charge. The proposal was gladly accepted. 21 classic films were screened at the then nine district headquarters and in Nagercoil. New film societies were formed in all these towns. Soon there were more than 100 film societies all over Kerala. Surpassed Bengal in number and function.

How the birth of ‘Swayamvara’

= Was active in taking documentaries ‌ but the feature film did not get producers. Swayamvaram (1972) was taken seven years after studying at the Institute. The budget was Rs 2.5 lakh, including Rs 1.5 lakh borrowed from the Film Finance Corporation. The release was problematic, barely running. With that, the media also wrote an obituary for the producer, Film Co-operative. The film was not considered for the state government award. The local jury did not recommend him for the national award. But the film was selected for the Moscow Film Festival.

The local jury deliberately rejected ‘Swayamvaram’ and sent a telegram to the Union Minister requesting him to meet the national jury but received no reply. Disappointed. The telegram was the last word. One evening PMG. The news of Swayamvaram winning four national awards was heard on the radio while having tea at Venugopalanilayam in Kerala. We thought All India Radio would be wrong. Because the print of the movie has not been sent. Then the film will be seen and the award will be given. The print sent to the Moscow fair had returned to Delhi. It was later learned that the jury was watching it. The jury, chaired by Romesh Thapar, recommended the dismissal of local jurors. And it was done. Thus Swayamvaram created another history. Re-released after receiving the awards. Theater House‌ Full.

The second film ‘Kodiyetta’ also had a short break. The film starring Gopi. The film was completed by AVM in Madras. Sent to the lab but never looked back for two years. There was no money to pay in the lab. When I finally reached the lab with the money for the documentary about the Idukki project prepared for the government, some reels were missing. It had to be filmed a second time. Although 14 prints were taken, the theaters were not at all interested. Not the new hero, not the young gentleman. But the flagship also garnered awards. The film became a super hit when it hit theaters. It ran for 145 days in a theater in Kottayam. Subsequently, German television filmed. The return on investment was quadrupled. The painting grew with all the warmth but I said goodbye to it due to disagreement.

K. How did your association with Rabindranath Tagore begin? Coming to the film world through two films was great

= Ravi’s call from Kollam one day. The hushed sound. I wish we could take a picture with you. Must see one. Let’s send the car. Can you come here? The car arrived within two hours. He reached Kollam and spoke. But let’s start later, said Ravi. He produced four films – Elipathayam, Mukhamukham, Anantharam and Vidheyan. He did not interfere in anything. The approvals were many. Not only was there no loss, but there was also a small gain. My movies have never hurt anyone. And always wished not to lose. No manufacturer should be on the road. I don’t make movies but nothing happens in the world. Many people came with interest to make a film. I said that there is no guarantee that the film will be a financial success. On hearing this, most of them withdrew. It is not possible to say who will get the award. The award cannot be withheld. Running pictures sometimes come without running. Ravi would often ask me not to take the next picture.

Direction: Adoor Gopalakrishnan is not used. It is called realization

= The very term director is misleading. The director is the organizer. My film is the realization of my idea. Call it the Filmmaker. The term director comes from the play.

Half a century has passed since Swayamvaram’s film career. Can we expect another movie?

= Making films into ideas that haunt my mind. There was a lot of pressure from within, and the writing started when the idea was constantly annoying. Construction is not considered until it is written. I am not ready to compromise. All the characters are soulful. No evaluation of my movies. Some of the new filmmakers are good filmmakers.

content highlights: adoor gopalakrishnan interview